An update on SOCS

The DEMETER Stakeholders Open Collaboration Space (SOCS) is an online platform dedicated to all stakeholders (farmers, advisors, and suppliers) where they can collaborate, share best practices and participate in co-creation processes. The added value provided by the SOCS is mainly related to the capability to interconnect all the DEMETER stakeholders into a unified digital community with an aim to find new contacts, share best practices and get inspiration, facilitate the emergence of new collaborations, find updates on relevant topics, learn from others experiences, innovate, promote users, and create the basis for new business while also accessing skills and technologies as well as farmer’s requests, needs and expert advice.

The SOCS is based on the DIHIWARE, a solution developed by the MIDIH H2020 EU project ( and currently in use in many ecosystems in Europe. The DIHIWARE offers a complete collaboration environment inspired by Enterprise Social Software.

In the SOCS, two different workspaces have been configured: a workspace for all stakeholders (SOCS workspace) and a workspace just for technical developers (Developers workspace). These workspaces offer the user the required collaborative applications to satisfy specific interests.

The SOCS workspace offers common repositories to discover organisations and farms’ core activities as well as pilot project’s catalogues. This space aims at facilitating the creation and sharing of agricultural and digital contents, information, events, best practices, knowledge, challenges among all the different categories of users. The Developers workspace on the other hand aims at representing a virtual space to enable the collaboration among developers, mainly through the sharing of technical documentation that will be made available by using a wiki application (tool to formalise users’ knowledge in a structured way), the document library and through categorized discussions to solve specific issues. Through the search bar, users can also look for partners with specific skills with whom to co-create proposals for a specific challenge. Technical developers can also search the DEMETER technical documentation available under the developer workspace.

SOCS was developed using the multi-actor approach which aims to make innovation fully demand-driven taking into account users’ needs and concerns. A series of interviews and workshops with farmers and developers resulted in a revised design and improved vocabulary used on the platform. A usability review using Nielsen’s Heuristics overview approach and tests for best user experience practices was conducted. An online workshop with DEMETER partners, using Mural and Zoom, was facilitated to gain feedback from other stakeholders and to answer any questions that the developers of the system may have.  During the design and development of the DEMETER workspace structure, a high level user journey was considered within the SOCS platform in order to orchestrate the ideal user experience and optimize it for the desired outcomes.

The result was a clear guide for the SOCS developers to improve on the user interface with a new design that follows best practices. Presently, the platform is being further tested by partners within the DEMETER consortium including farmers and developers.

Aside from the co-creation application, whose final version will be released in December 2022, the final version of all the SOCS applications, aiming at facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration, has been already released.

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